Frank Eugene Corder

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Frank Eugene Corder
BornMay 26, 1956
DiedSeptember 12, 1994 (aged 38)
Cause of deathSuicide by plane crash
Occupation(s)Former U.S. Army soldier
Truck driver
Known forCrashing a plane into the White House lawn

Frank Eugene Corder (May 26, 1956 – September 12, 1994) was an American truck driver. He stole a Cessna 150 late on September 11, 1994, and crashed the stolen aircraft onto the South Lawn of the White House early on September 12, 1994, while attempting to land the plane; he was killed, and was the sole casualty.


Corder was born in Perry Point, Maryland, the son of William Eugene Corder, who was an aircraft mechanic at Edgewood Arsenal,[1] and Dorothy Corder. He dropped out of Aberdeen High School in the eleventh grade and enlisted in the Army in October 1974. Corder was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Carson, Colorado, where he was trained as a mechanic.[1] He was honorably discharged from military service in July 1975 at the rank of private first class.[1] After his service ended, he worked as a truck driver from 1976 until his employment was terminated in early 1993.

On April 15, 1993, Corder was arrested for theft and was arrested again later that year on October 9 for drug dealing. He was sentenced to spend 90 days at a drug rehabilitation center and was released in February 1994.[1][citation needed] After he was released, he was living with his third wife Lydia at Keyser's Motel in Aberdeen, Maryland. Lydia Corder left Frank three weeks prior to the incident, which is thought to have driven him towards deep depression and suicide.[1] Friends claim he bore no ill will towards President Bill Clinton and probably only wanted the publicity of the stunt, based largely on his sentiments towards Mathias Rust's flight of a Cessna 172 from Finland to Moscow, USSR. The President was not even in the mansion at the time due to renovations, but was instead staying at Blair House.


Corder stole the Cessna on the night of September 11 and departed from Harford County Airport in Churchville, Maryland[1] while severely intoxicated. The plane was noticed by radar technicians at Ronald Reagan National Airport several minutes before he tried to steer it into the wall of the White House. At 1:49 a.m., he hit the South Lawn and died on impact.

The crash caused a re-evaluation in security procedures around the White House, as the pilot had entered restricted airspace. Though the White House is rumored to be equipped with surface-to-air missiles, none were fired; the Secret Service has neither confirmed nor dispelled the rumor;[2] however, in 2019 a CBS reporter spotted a battery on the roof of a building across the street.[3]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f Pear, Robert (September 13, 1994). "CRASH AT THE WHITE HOUSE: THE PILOT; Friends Depict Loner With Unraveling Life". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Labaton, Stephen (September 13, 1994). "CRASH AT THE WHITE HOUSE: THE DEFENSES; Pilot's Exploit Rattles White House Officials - New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-07-04. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  3. ^ Mizokami, Kyle (2019-11-27). "Yesterday's Washington D.C. Air Alert Revealed a Secret Missile Battery". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2023-07-22.

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